lack of Women’s participation in decision makings worrying

In Ghana women constitute constitute over 50 per cent of the country's population, yet their participation and representation in decision making is extremely low.

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Rural Women Day
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Successive governments, political institutions and Civil Society Organizations have equally made efforts to include women, in order for their views to be incorporated into decision making.

However, women still lack the critical mass to effect change in governance and decision making process.

It is obvious that these shortfalls have been largely attributed to certain socio- cultural barriers which hinders women’s participation and general progress.

Gender inequality leads to discrimination, social injustice and sub-optimal economic progress due to a serious neglect of a large part of society’s human resources leading to deficient democracies.

It in this regard ,the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is assiduously with it stakeholders to ensure that the Affirmative Action Bill goes to Parliament for its passage into Law.

The Affirmative Action Bill that has been drafted to redress Social, Economic and Political imbalance in Ghana, with emphasis on women’s participation and representation in decision-making at all levels.

In an interview with the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Mrs. Della Sowah, during a sensitization programme on Affirmative Action (Gender equality) legislation in Accra,she stated unequivocally that women constitute over 50 per cent of the country’s population, yet their participation in decision making is not encouraging .

Explaining the purpose of the Affirmative Action Bill, she said it would help promote the full and active participation of women in public life by providing a more equitable system of representation in electoral politics and governance in accordance with the Republic of Ghana’s international and obligations and national development aspirations.

The AA Bill will also provide a framework to help eliminate discrimination on basis that each citizen shares equal rights self -development and that women with equal abilities should have equal opportunities regardless of gender.

Adding that, when the Bill passed into law it will carefully identify and effectively redress areas of social , cultural , economic and educational imbalance and ensure gender equality in Ghana.

This she said, the law will rectify historical wrongdoings my mandating that certain opportunities be made available to those distinguished by gender , minority or those under- represented in society.

The Acting Director, Department of Gender, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection,Mrs Comfort Asare, noted that the Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Bill for Ghana has been through various consultative processes involving a cross-section of the Ghanaian public and has received Cabinet approval and Expectations are that, the Bill goes to Parliament for its passage into Law.

According to her , the concept of democracy will have real and dynamic meaning and lasting effect only when political decision-making is shared by women and men and takes equal account of the interests of both.

It is important for us to recall some of the International Conventions and treaties, to which Ghana has acceded, such as the CEDAW, adopted by the UN in 1979. Recommendation 23 underscores this position;
Societies in which women are excluded from public life and decision-making cannot be described as democratic.

Adding that, Ghana is not only bound by international rights-based frameworks. In the 1992 Constitution which is the supreme law of the land, three main provisions are made in Article 17 (4) (a), Articles 37 and 40 (d) and Directive Principles of State Policy (Chapter Six) to support the equal representation of women in public life.

There is also a directive from the Local Government Act of 1993 to reserve half of the 30% appointed member positions at the District Assemblies for women.

In 1998 therefore, the then government put in place an Affirmative Action policy guideline that called for at least 40% representation of women in appointments to the public service, committees, boards.

However, not much effort has been made to make this substantive policy a reality and therefore governments could not be held accountable to that commitment.

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) in collaboration with other stakeholders since 2011, have undertaken some activities to ensure the development and passage of a law to promote Affirmative Action at all levels of governance and decision making in Ghana, as well as to redress other social and economic imbalances.

“ We need the men to support this drive because an empowered woman will be a better partner in marriage and nation building”, she added.

By: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/ NewsGhana.com.GH

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